Mario “”Mayito”” Rivera is without a doubt one of Cuba’s most notable singers. He spent more than 20 years as the characteristic voice and face of the extremely successful Cuban band, Los Van Van. It doesn’t matter whether Mayito sings son, rumba, salsa, bolero, or timba, in a modern or traditional style, powerfully dynamic or tender and soft–whenever he performs, vibrantly adding color to his vocal interpretations, it’s of award-winning quality. “”Mayito”” was born as Mario Enrique Rivera Godínez on January 19, 1966 in Pinar del Rio, Cuba’s westernmost province, where the art of making Cuban cigars is based. He began his musical education while still a child. Eventually he graduated in percussion from the renowned Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA) before going on to complete an advanced degree at the Instituto Superior de Arte, Cuba’s university for the arts. After finishing his 15-year training, Rivera first joined the band of famous Cuban singer Albita Rodríguez, then played bass in Grupo Moncada, a Nueva Trova formation. At the age of 26, Mayito was discovered for the already-legendary orchestra Los Van Van by its musical director, Juan Formell. Initially integrated for bass and background vocals, he rapidly advanced to become the lead singer. During the following two decades, he defined the band’s face like no other. And with him, a new, younger generation of musicians took the stage. The freshness of his style enabled Los Van Van to achieve lasting success worldwide. He was the one who sang the band’s many salsa dance hits, for which he was rewarded with a Latin Grammy and two nominations.
Alma de Sonero
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